The biggest team

I am reminded that some two years ago most of the major protests that had occurred in Oman during Arab Spring had run their course: changes had been made quickly, and those who had voiced dissatisfaction were prepared to see if their desired improvements would materialise.

The Oman Arab Spring was never intended to topple the leadership. As I recall, the major issues where the Omani protesters wanted change were on four main fronts. Firstly, the demands were for higher pay; secondly, for stable food prices; thirdly, for the end to corruption; and lastly for freedom of the press.

So what has happened since the summer of 2011?
Basic pay and conditions have been improved, with the latest advance being to RO325 per month from July 1, 2013.

The Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) seems to be becoming more influential as every day passes, with wide powers.

Part of its role is to curb price rises. Corruption is of course present in all societies of the world, and here many changes of government officials and company personnel have been made to reduce the impact of this unwelcome part of life.

Whilst some movement and initiatives have been discussed in respect of freedom of the press, compared with western society, there is a long way to go.

It would be nice to think that private television channels could soon be introduced here. There is still too much government and company spin being printed for my liking, and not enough true investigation and genuine analysis.

There are other major changes too. There is no doubt that the private sector is being asked, forcefully, to step up to the plate - to create jobs, increase opportunities, improve productivity, and to give Omanis a career path.

The government cannot do it all. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are words seen regularly in business print, through banks, via new companies, and within initiatives being run by existing companies.

Omani entrepreneurs are being encouraged to perform.

And there are also so many more people here than before! The 2010 census recorded Oman's population at 2.77mn, whereas in February 2013 this had reached 3.83mn.

It seems clear that the earlier figure was an under-estimate, but the more accurate figure should allow some better planning for future needs to take place. There are now over 1.1mn people in the governorate of Muscat alone.

So two years after Arab Spring I still see a nation proud of its leader, and keen to try to succeed, where it is evident that other countries in this region are failing.

Changes here have been made, and no doubt more will be needed. The world does not stand still and nor can Oman. I believe that the government should work in a more co-ordinated way to encourage business to thrive.

Private organisations must take responsibility and strive for better quality, service and efficiency.

In sport, the teams that achieve the greatest success are those where the sum of the parts taken together exceeds that of the individual parts taken in isolation.

In business, creating a team that works together, all heading in the same direction, is also what visionary and inclusive executives seek to do. I believe that all of us, living in the big team that is Oman, need to think of our lives in the same way.

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